Why men stay at home to mind children

The ‘housewife’, which is a woman who stayed at home to raise her children and look after the home, used to be a very common figure. The ‘househusband’ was extremely rare, and still is. New American figures show that today 26pc of mothers and 7pc of fathers are stay-at-home parents. The number of stay-at-home mothers has fallen slightly over the last 30 years, while the number of stay-at-home fathers has grown somewhat.

Interestingly, the study found that stay-at-home fathers in general do not particularly want to be in this role.

The new study from the Pew Research Center revealed somewhat shifting trends over the past three decades. The percentage of stay-at-home mothers decreased slightly from 28pc in 1989 to 26pc in 2021, while the corresponding figure for fathers increased from 4pc to 7pc. Consequently, dads now represent 18pc of stay-at-home parents, up from 11pc in 1989.

The reasons cited for not working differed substantially between stay-at-home mothers and fathers. A huge majority of stay-at-home mothers (79pc) reported wishing to take care of home or family as their reason for not being out in the paid workforce. On the other hand, only 23pc stay-at-home fathers give this reason, whereas 34pc are at home with a child due to illness or disability, 13pc are retired, 13pc are unable to find work, and 8pc are attending school.

Demographically, stay-at-home fathers differed from those who were in paid work. Overall, they were less educated (22pc had completed a bachelor’s degree compared to 42pc of working dads), and were far more likely to live in poverty (40pc compared to 5pc of working fathers). Stay-at-home fathers also tended to be older, with 46pc aged 45 or older compared to 35pc of working fathers. Employed fathers are more likely to be married (85pc) than those who stay at home (68pc).

But where fathers who mentioned taking care of their family as the main reason for staying at home show distinct differences compared to those who stay for other reasons (illness, disability, unemployment, etc.) They are better educated, tend to be older, and 73pc of them are married.

In summary, the research shows that there are still big differences between men and women in terms of who is more likely to stay at home with children, and that men who stay at home are far less likely than women to wish to do so.

Picture by Daniela Dimitrova from Pixabay